Journal of International Entrepreneurship

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 108–129

Family firms and internationalization: An exploratory study on high-tech entrepreneurial ventures

  • Evila Piva
  • Cristina Rossi-Lamastra
  • Alfredo De Massis

DOI: 10.1007/s10843-012-0100-y

Cite this article as:
Piva, E., Rossi-Lamastra, C. & De Massis, A. J Int Entrep (2013) 11: 108. doi:10.1007/s10843-012-0100-y


This paper empirically explores a highly relevant, although poorly investigated topic: internationalization of family firms that operate in high-tech industries. Specifically, we compare internationalization of family and nonfamily entrepreneurial ventures in these industries. Relying on prior studies on internationalization of family firms, we speculate on how the specificities of high-tech industries shape the advantages and disadvantages of family entrepreneurial ventures in pursuing internationalization as compared with their nonfamily peers. In the empirical part of the paper, through a rigorous quantitative analysis of unique data from 264 Italian high-tech entrepreneurial ventures, we explore whether in high-tech industries family entrepreneurial ventures are more (or less) likely to pursue internationalization than their nonfamily counterparts. Surprisingly enough, our econometric estimates indicate that, in high-tech industries, family entrepreneurial ventures exhibit a higher internationalization propensity than their nonfamily peers.


Family businessFamily firmsInternationalizationInternational entrepreneurshipHigh-tech

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evila Piva
    • 1
  • Cristina Rossi-Lamastra
    • 1
  • Alfredo De Massis
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Management, Economics and Industrial EngineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Center for Young and Family Enterprise (CYFE)University of BergamoBergamoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Economics and Technology ManagementDalmineItaly